A thought for Father’s Day

My wife and I were glad to be able to spend a Sunday together with my Mom and Dad. The day began innocuously enough discussing that it was Father’s day. My Dad had turned 60 a little while ago and it’s been a mixed bag to watch him change over the last few years. More time with his grandson, new patterns of work. So many other little things. The personal uniqueness of being both a Father and a Son puts experiences into a wider perspective. I would not claim to be the best son out there and I wish I try harder to be.

We’re always encouraged to learn to be good parents. When do we start learning to be better sons and daughters?

Where Has Our Respect for Truth and Privacy Gone?

Was it necessary for the Indian media to publish the complete transcript of Jiah Khans’ suicide note?*

Was it necessary to publish Sreesanth’s diary and his thoughts on anger management issues when it has no bearing on the spot-fixing case against him?**

Our respect for the truth and what is private only seems to be diminishing. What on earth justified that this information be revealed? Why should someone’s troubled thoughts about a close one be made public before a court of law has made it’s decision?

Trial by media in India is the new mob ‘lynching‘. Information is the hangman’s noose. It’s troubling to recognize that greed has a greater say in shaping our opinions, over careful thought and respect for the private struggles of an individual. Times of India may have completed 175 years of journalism, but in this respect progress is clearly in the wrong direction.

Ethics and integrity don’t bend at will, but *we* do. We’re all geared to intuitively know when the line has been crossed.

* Times of India, Economic Times, other newspapers – 11th June.
** “Sreesanth the hothead, resolved to keep it cool” – Times of India, 19th May.

Single Minded

Most of these investors-cum-inventors are motivated by personal passion to create companies. Under this model, entrepreneurs often tap their own networks and wallets to finance their ideas.

“I don’t have any hobbies,” said Max Levchin, a co-founder and former chief technology officer of PayPal. “This is what I do.” …

Read the rest of the article – Entrepreneurs help build startups by the batch – NY Times.

Being single minded is one way that things get done. It can also become the reason why everything else starts to lose it’s color. Hang in there. Life will always be bigger. I guess that it is this need to transform what we work on, what we produce, what we’re affected by, to become all of life that keeps things greased.

From what I’ve read – Pixar is great at keeping this thought at the center of it’s creative processes. They know that they can get the best out of their teams if they allow them to seed and work on their own ideas. This is not to say that Pixar does not play a role, they play a huge role in refining these ideas, leveraging what they’ve learned as an institution in order to make these ideas work.

Emotional ownership at Pixar was significant enough for John Lasseter and Steve Jobs, Pixar’s boss at one time, to balk repeatedly at activating a clause that would transfer Toy Story’s characters over to Disney. They made the same call when even when they were nearing broke. When the sale did happen, it appeared almost as if Pixar would be buying Disney, retaining creative control.

Max Levchin, Slide

The many reasons why you are going to fail

“I am normal, not weird – like that guy Steve Jobs. Therefore I am excused for not having a passion”.

At TEDxUW, Larry Smith recounts the many excuses that will prevent you from pursuing your passions. Larry, a professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo coaches students at the University of Waterloo to find the careers they will truly love.


Zazen: The Missing Manual.
Be Your Personal Best.

Be your personal best.

To a dear friend,

I hope things are going well with your undergraduate studies in the city. As I watched the rains come down disrupting life I was most perturbed by the disruption and chaos in your life.

It must be an exciting time for you and your friends in the Senior year. For the first time you can catch the whiff of a real job and money. With the arrival of the monsoons the corporations in and around the city will descend on campuses with presentations, interviews and offer letters. Hiring is big business when all the investors care about is head counts and growth.

For your own college, this time of the year is a critical one. Placements with the top-notch companies guarantee that the campus will continue to attract the best students. Colleges safeguard their reputations (of 100% placements) by religiously following one single rule – if you have a written offer from a corporate that visited campus, you can no longer continue to apply for other campus interviews.

Things had worked out very simply for me. Of the twelve companies that visited my campus in 1999, I was very sure of the one I wanted. I researched the company through my seniors, attended their preplacement talk and only then did I turn in my application. Then began the gruelling process of tough tests and personal interviews. The morning after, I still did not have an offer letter. On that very day, a major services company were also hiring on campus. Unsure of where I was placed, I decided that they would be the next best thing. Mid way through the test I was told that my preferred company had made an offer for me and so I would have to give up on my application with the major corporate.

I gladly left the test area – I had made it with the best company on my list. My later experience with the company was greatly sweetened by the detail of my research into the organization, the high quality of the interviews and of course, by the fact that I truly believed that it was the best company to have visited my campus.

My own experience aside, in the depths your mind I am sure you prefer at least one of the following, to either enter the rat race or to stay out of it. If you were to stay out of the rat race, you could continue to be a student and decide to not create any value in the strict economical sense. If that is true for you, I believe you would not be too worried about getting hired on campus.

Unfortunately, you and your friends like you appear to be afraid. Watching the others send in their job applications with the big brand names seems to have weakened your resolve. It appears as if the entire class has submitted an application for every company planning to visit the campus!

I am sure that corporates are aware of this herd effect and covet the first interview slot on your campus. I also suspect that that slot carries a premium. Coincidentally, the same services company that could not have me, have booked the first slot on your campus. On day one of campus placements they had the best look at the top students. As the top ten students were being interviewed, you awaited your turn patiently. I was surprised to hear that the college then announced to those waiting that your preferred company would visit the campus in a weeks time. It no longer made any sense to sit through the current interviews. Subsequently, some of your friends deliberately failed the interview (some cleared inadvertently and were made offers).

What really baked my noodle though is what would the top ten students have done had they heard the same announcement, would they have preempted their own interviews? It only gets better. Within the first three days about 70% of your class had already been recruited and were eliminated. So what is your preferred company to do – they go ahead and cancel their campus visit. Your decision to wait for your choice of employer has now left you stranded. Who gets to decide what your future will look like? Why is it that the current answer appeals the least to me?

I encourage you to renew your faith in yourself. If you have decided you wish to stay out of the rat race, stand by your decision. If you later decide to change your mind, you can definitely apply around your campus placement office. Our current economy and job market only increases the probability that you will be placed with an employer of your choice. Do not be discouraged by the facade of tough interviews, long waits and other mental hurdles. Realise that you are unique. Search the right place for yourself, a place where you won’t need to fight change.

Be your personal best.